Schafer: "I need to keep my mouth shut"

Claims comments about Kotick were "an accident" and warns against burning bridges

Tim Schafer has responded to the recent publication of critical comments he made about Activision boss Bobby Kotick.

"That was an accident," explained Schafer in response to a question following his talk at Develop this morning. "I was going to change the title of my talk to 'how to give interviews and remember to check the microphone is off.'

"I need to keep my mouth shut," he said. "It is shocking how you really can't burn bridges in the industry. You start your own company and you don't have to work for that jerky boss any more. Not naming names.

"Then it's like Empire Strikes Back - you walk in the room and "holy shit darth vader's at the table." It's such a small industry, you see the same people over and over again. No-one ever goes away."

However, he refused to explain his comment yesterday, in which he called Kotick a "dick" and accused him of not liking games. "I'm definitely not saying anything about Bobby," he said. "After that Eurogamer thing I realised I'm a little nervous about what I want to say."

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Latest comments (11)

Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 11 years ago
Indeed Schafer, think before speaking is usually the way to go. Its not always good to say whats truly on ones mind.
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Thomas Luecking11 years ago
This incident is so embarrassing and plays into the hands of the people who say that the games industry lacks professionalism and maturity... Schafer hurt the industry with this statement which isn't to change anything. I am tired of this publisher bashing. Everybody seems to forget that the business guys play a pivotal role in this industry and of course there are differences between corporate cultures and attitutes towards business. But this is the same in almost every industry.

In my opinion there is still a general lack of willingness to understand each others perspective on business.
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 11 years ago
Id say that people should stick to what they know best. with Schafer/Kotick: schafer should stick to making games and Kotick to running a company. This News of The World type of bashing shouldnt get any editorial time outside of boardrooms.
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Show all comments (11)
Thomas Luecking11 years ago
Totally agree!
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Miguel Melo Principal Software Engineer/Product Manager 11 years ago
Wow. I only worked in the games industry for 5 years as a coder and - 3 years into that and at the age of twentysomething - it was apparent to me that you can't burn bridges and that darth vader _always_ ends up at the table on your next meeting/interview.

It surprises me that this appears to have only dawned on Schafer, a seasoned veteran, at the age of 43... :P
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gi biz ;, 11 years ago
@Thomas: I've been working in other areas before getting into the industry, and I can tell you that insulting co-workers and other figures in the same environment - more or less publicly - is often even more frequent than in the gaming environments I've been working into.
Besides, during your career you see plenty of negative people, and I see nothing wrong in making public their bad attitude. Would this happen more frequently, I would've avoided one nest of morons or two in the past...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by gi biz on 15th July 2010 2:27pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
I think Schafer should have the opportunity to infer his sentiments. Though formulated in a more deferential manner.

It is when we don't voice our concerns and opinions that things never change.
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Thomas Luecking11 years ago
@Michele: You have a good point. But I would say it is not about a single company you think to work for. It is more about the expectations of two parties doing business together.

I do not only blame the "creative studio side". Kotick's recent public statements have been unprofessional too and I surely do not like to see the world's largest publisher being run by someone who apparently does not have any honest passion for the industry.

On the other hand I do not expect Activision to be interested in anything else than money... they have to be focussed on that. In turn they can offer you worldwide marketing and distribution... this is what Bungie realized. And they also realized the importance of terms and conditions for what it took them half a year to finalize negotiations.
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Brian 'Psychochild' Green MMO Developer 11 years ago
It's interesting to see the contrast between these comments and the one on the previous article. Quite a few people believe Schafer said what a lot of people were thinking. Personally, I think that "professionalism" is no excuse not to point out problems, although Schafer probably could have been more tactful; one assumes he would have been if he had considered the live microphone.
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Miguel Melo Principal Software Engineer/Product Manager 11 years ago
For the record, and to reconcile opinions on both posts, I think it is great to have people that do not sit on the fence and stand up for what they believe is right - so in that sense, Schafer is my hero as I am, personally, a fairly more impassive type of person (and sometimes hate myself for that).

My comment above, however, is that he was blunt on one day and then seems to atone for it the very next day as if, all of a sudden, it just dawned on him that being _that_ openly honest about someone can burn bridges after all...
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Arnold Shortsle11 years ago
It's refreshing to hear people, within the gaming industry, openly express they're opinions and/or thoughts. However, in a business where no one knows who they're going to be working for next in the future, keeping contacts in good standing, without animosity towards one another, is the wisest route to go. Sure Activision needs to seriously revise who they are and re-focus who they are. If not then the company is done.
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